Nine former NFNL players have been named to make their debut in the opening round of the 2020 AFLW season.
Madeline Brancatisano, Kodi Jacques and Sarah Sansonetti will all play in Richmond’s inaugural game in the AFLW, when the Tigers take on Carlton in tonight’s season open at Ikon Park. Ciara Fitzgerald has been named as an emergency.
Brancatisano played junior football with Montmorency and Laurimar and captained the Northern Knights in their 2018 TAC Cup Girls campaign. She was selected by Melbourne in the 2018 AFLW Draft but didn’t play a game for the Demons before crossing to Tigerland.
Jacques is a two-time NFNL Division 1 Women’s premiership winner with Bendigo. The 2017 and 2018 premiership young star joined Richmond’s VFL side in 2019 and has since been elevated to the AFLW list.
A former Bundoora Park junior, Sansonetti was picked by Richmond at No. 40 in last year’s draft after playing for the Northern Knights and Vic Metro in 2019. She also played five VFLW games for Darebin.
2019 No.1 draft pick Gabby Newton will play for the Western Bulldogs when they take on St Kilda at RSEA Park.
Newton started her football journey with both Montmorency and Yarrambat, before graduating to the Northern Knights program.
She captained the Knights to the NAB League Girls premiership in 2019 and earned selection in the All Australian team after a dominant AFLW National Championships for Vic Metro.
She will line up alongside fellow debutant Elisabeth Georgostathis, who was selected by the Bulldogs with pick No. 9 in last year’s draft. Georgostathis won the VU Western Spurs Division 1 best and fairest in 2018 at just 16 years of age.
The duo will take on a St Kilda line-up that will feature Rosie Dillon. Dillon has spent the past two seasons with Hawthorn in the VFLW but competed for Whitehorse in the inaugural NFNL Women’s season in 2017.
2018 NFNL Division 1 Women’s best and fairest Sarah Wright has been named to play for North Melbourne in its clash with Melbourne at Casey Fields. Wright also won the Coaches MVP and played in the NFNL’s representative team in her sole season in the league.
She will come up against Darebin’s Gabrielle Colvin, who has been selected for her first game by the Demons. Colvin played in the NFNL in 2017 before spending the past two years with the Falcons VFLW side.
Meanwhile, fellow Falcon Annalyse Lister has been named for her debut by GWS for their clash with newcomer Gold Coast at Blacktown International Sportspark. Lister also played for the Falcons in the NFNL.
Five former NFNL umpires will also officiate matches this weekend.
Field umpires Lucinda Lopes and Marty Rodger, boundary umpires Nick Phillips and Greta Miller and goal umpire Matthew Edwards have all been named to officiate in the opening round of the season.
The NFNL congratulates all players and umpires on their selection in this weekend’s matches and wishes them the best of luck for the 2020 AFLW season.